Honda, Sony Intro First JV Car Under Afeela Brand

Honda and Sony are joining forces to create a new brand, Afeela, designed to add “feel” to mobility.

David Kiley, Senior Editor

January 6, 2023

3 Min Read
2026 Honda Sony Afeela sedan
The first Afeela EV launched within the Honda-Sony partnership is hitting the market in 2026.

LAS VEGAS – Sony Honda Mobility, a joint venture between the automaker and consumer electronics giant announced here last year at CES, will kick off with consumers in 2026 with a sedan under a newly forged Afeela brand.

“Afeela expresses an interactive relationship where people ‘feel’ mobility as an intelligent entity, and mobility ‘feels’ people and society using sensing and network IT technologies,” the company says.

The two companies agreed to bring out vehicles, which will not necessarily be restricted to 4-wheel automobiles over time, under a new name rather than co-brand the vehicles that enter showrooms and other retail venues in the future.

By doing so, Honda, for example, sidesteps having to fold the distribution of the vehicles into the existing Honda dealer network and franchise agreements. The breadth of where the Afeela vehicles will be sold has not been detailed.

Honda executives have said they have no intention of cutting its dealers out. But the arrangement gives both Honda and Sony flexibility on how they sell and distribute.

The new brand also gives consumers a new experience to latch on to, or not, with a vehicle that looks like it will benefit from Honda’s engineering and quality prowess, though transcend the driving and ownership experience of current models from the Japanese automaker.

Automakers have a long history of launching new brands if it feels like the old brand will not serve future products properly. Honda was the first Japanese auto brand to launch a luxury brand in Acura, followed by Toyota’s Lexus and Nissan’s Infiniti and Hyundai’s Genesis. Back in the late 1980s, General Motors launched the Geo sub-brand, a corral of joint venture cars the automaker built with Asian automakers.

But those brands all sold through traditional dealerships. There is a trend among new battery-electric-vehicle brands such as Tesla and Rivian to bypass the usual dealership networks as a growing number of consumers seem interested in buying direct from companies and skipping the dealer experience.

The 4-door Afeela sedan features simple, if elegant, styling that is equipped with a massive suite of electronics. The two companies are quiet about what comes after the initial vehicle, but it makes sense to expect a crossover to follow considering that segment is the fastest growing while sedans have been in decline.



The Afeela BEV includes 45 sensors made by Sony inside and out, including cameras, radar and lidar to enable its safety, semi-autonomous driving and interactive systems.

The interior features digital displays of a type that are certainly new for Honda, spanning the dashboard, two more for the rear passengers and video camera sideview mirrors, which are legal in some countries, but not yet in the U.S.

The electronics in the vehicle are run by the Qualcomm Snapdragon Digital Chassis and use infotainment software developed by Epic Games.

The companies are holding back powertrain specifications, pricing, driving range, projected production levels and geographic markets of availability, as well as where the vehicle will be manufactured.
Honda also is launching the all-new electric Prologue SUV in partnership with GM, and is building its own electric vehicle and battery manufacturing plants in Ohio.



About the Author(s)

David Kiley

Senior Editor, WardsAuto

David Kiley is an award winning journalist. Prior to joining WardsAuto, Kiley held senior editorial posts at USA Today, Businessweek, AOL Autos/Autoblog and Adweek, as well as being a contributor to Forbes, Fortune, Popular Mechanics and more.

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